Every year I hear it. Someone always says “This was a bad year for music”. I always end up disagreeing. Whether it’s because I like way too many things or I simply like to disagree, I always feel that there are some great artist’s putting out some great music.
So a couple weeks ago, I heard it three times that this is a bad year for music. That there were no great albums. And of course, I disagree.
This is my list of my favourite 15 albums of the year thus far. A slightly eclectic list of albums that I have been listening to consistently throughout the past 6 months. 2011’s ever building soundtrack.
#15 – Cut Copy – Zonoscope
Zonoscope fizzed out for me the first few listens. It was a big disappointment. Until a few weeks ago when I gave it another go. And I can’t stop listening. It’s versatile and diverse like their previous outings. And of course it’s dancey, like so much of this years great albums.
I recently did a post on this album, so I won’t go into too much detail at this time. This is an album that I have been listening to consistently since it’s release. This is Icelandic Post-Rock that finds its own voice.
#13 – The Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital
Their last album was a blast. And Sound Kapital, is even more so. A gritty synth rock album full of dance anthems to soundtrack the late night drive.
#12 – Radiohead – The King of Limbs
As with every Radiohead release, this is a progression of sounds. A blend of their previous work, with today’s sounds, and a touch of the future. It is always interesting and complexly beautiful.
#11 – Typhoon – A New Kind of House
This is an EP that came out this year from this collective that hails from Portland. With at least 12 active members this band has a loud sound that is pushing the boundaries of the new folk revival. The Honest Truth is up there as one of my favourite songs of the year, and their performance at the Sasquatch festival was one of the best of the fest.
#10 – Joseph Arthur – The Graduation Ceremony
I have been a big fan of Joseph Arthur’s for over 10 years now. I finally get to see him this Sunday at the Calgary Folk Fest and I am extremely excited. To see him touring in support of this album will be great as it is a great folky album with some nice flourishes. It is a safe Joseph Arthur which has its pros and cons, but it is definitely up there with his best works.
#9 – Foster the People – Torches
This band proved that they are more than last years HUGE hit. The album is full of catchy pop songs in the vein of MGMT and other synth rock acts. Nearly every song on the album is single worthy and they put on a great show at Sasquatch that had the small stage overflowing.
#8 – Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
This album is a very big departure from her debut hit album. It’s darker. Moodier. And somehow more danceable. It took me several listens to adjust but grew to really appreciate the shift and the new sound.
#7 – Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting
Call it Post-dubstep, call it whatever you want. It’s soulful and it makes you dance inside. I am a big fan of this album and find myself listening to it a lot when I am outside. What that means, I don’t know. But it must mean something.
#6 – The Weeknd – House of Balloons
Canadian soul/hip hop duo that is making huge splashes worldwide, and with good reason. This is the future of soul music and their new mixtape is sounding like it will be just as good.
#5 – Yuck – Yuck
This band from the other side of the pond is bringing back the 90’s. This album channels the bands I wasn’t cool enough to listen to in the 90’s and and makes it all their own. This is a driving album for me, and likely one of the top albums of the year.
#4 – TuNe YaRdS
Alternating caps are out, but these guys are in. This album features some of the most forward thinking rock melodies I have heard in awhile. This is an album that takes some work to get into, but it rewards heavily.
#3 – James Blake – James Blake
Another entry into the Post-Dubstep Genre that defies boundaries. It’s nearly impossible to explain how amazing this album is. It is an album that haunts you from the inside out. It has scattering beats and soulful vocals, and twists. It is straightforward blue-eyed soul, slowed down and shattered beyond recognition. Makes sense, right?
#2 – Noah and the Whale – Last Night on Earth
It is no secret that I am a huge Noah and the Whale fan. I finally got to see them for the first time at Sasquatch and get to see them for the second time at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. All three of their albums are sonically diverse. This album is less folky and more synth rocky. The melodies, harmonies, and lyrics are pure NATW, and they still have a knack of making dark subjects sound happy.
#1 – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
There is not much that can be said about this album that will do it justice. This is an album of pure beauty. An album that I have listened to over 100 times by now. It rewards each listen. It is adventurous and powerful. We get to see them in Vancouver in September and cannot wait to see the live renditions of these compositions.Vodpod videos no longer available.
Also in contention for the best of the year are the recent releases from: Beirut, Okkervil River, PJ Harvey, TV on the Radio, Elbow, The Best Westerns, Alela Diane, Cass McCombs, Thao and Mirah, and Adele.